Bradley Jando | Wednesday 11th March 2020 10:47am
While most people are aware of MOTs and what they are, there is often confusion about the different classes of these tests. In total, there are seven main classes of MOTs. The most common is the Class 4 MOT, which applies to a wide range of vehicles, including cars, taxis and lightweight goods vehicles. However, Class 7 MOTs are also common. They are a requirement for certain commercial goods vehicles.
Keep reading to discover exactly what Class 7 MOTs are and whether you might need one.
Class 7 MOTs Explained
Taking their name from the Ministry of Transport (a now-defunct government department and a predecessor of the Department for Transport), MOT tests are a long-standing feature of driving laws in the UK. The vast majority of vehicles must pass these annual tests in order to be deemed legal for use on the roads. An MOT confirms that a vehicle meets the established environmental and road safety standards. These assessments can only be carried out by approved MOT centres, and they involve detailed checks of a full range of vehicle components.
Class 7 MOTs apply to commercial vehicles that have a gross weight of between 3,000kg and 3,500kg - for example, larger versions of vans like the Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit. If you’re not sure if your vehicle falls into this weight category, you can check your V5 registration document or handbook. This should give you the information you need. If you’re still unsure, contact the manufacturer’s customer service department and give them your vehicle details, including the vehicle identification number (VIN). They should be able to provide you with the information you need.
What's included in a class 7 MOT test?
During a Class 7 MOT, the assessor will look at many different elements of your vehicle. For example, they will pay attention to the brakes to determine their condition and operation. This includes service brakes, parking brakes, secondary brakes and anti-lock braking systems. They will also look at steering, focusing on everything from the steering wheel and column to the forks and yokes.
Visibility for the driver will be assessed too, including the condition of the windscreen and windscreen wipers, field of vision and bonnet catchers.
Other areas that your MOT will cover include lights, reflectors and electrical equipment, as well as wheels, tyres, axles and suspension. The body, structure and attachments of your vehicle are examined in the test too, including the bumpers, exhaust system, bodywork, doors, seats and floor. Other equipment, such as your seat belts, airbags, horn, speedometer and electronic stability control, are also looked at. The environmental checks include exhaust emissions, noise levels and fluid leaks.
Are MOTs a legal requirement?
In short, yes. Virtually all vehicles on UK roads need to have annual MOTs. For Class 7 vehicles, this starts from three years from the date of registration. So, if your vehicle is over three years old, you’ll need to make sure it has an MOT every 12 months. You are only exempt from this if your vehicle is over 40 years old and hasn’t been substantially changed over the last 30 years.
The penalties for driving without a valid, in-date MOT can include a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points on your licence.
This means it’s essential that you keep track of when your last MOT was and make sure you arrange your next one in time. Ensure you choose an approved MOT centre to carry out the checks too.
Pass or fail: what happens next?
If your vehicle passes its MOT, you will receive a pass certificate from the test centre, and the information will also be recorded in the MOT database. You may get a straight pass, or you might get a list of ‘advisory’ or ‘minor’ problems that you will need to monitor and, if necessary, fix in the future.
If your vehicle fails, you will receive a ‘refusal of an MOT test certificate’ and the results will list any ‘dangerous’ or ‘major’ issues that need to be addressed. The failure will be recorded in the MOT database. If you think the decision is wrong, you can appeal it.
You may be permitted to drive your vehicle away to have the necessary repairs carried out if your current MOT certificate is still in date or if no ‘dangerous’ problems were listed. However, if you don’t meet these criteria, you will need to get the problems fixed before you drive anywhere.
No substitute for a service
Making sure your vehicle has its annual MOT is essential. You’re breaking the law if you don’t do this. However, this isn’t the only annual check that you should arrange. An MOT is no substitute for a vehicle service. The tests only make sure your vehicle is roadworthy; they don’t ensure that it is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
In contrast, a service includes an in-depth mechanical assessment of your vehicle following detailed guidelines set out by the manufacturer. Often including fluid and filter changes, services are designed to keep your car in peak condition. They can ensure that any problems are identified and fixed, reducing the risk of breakdowns and ensuring your vehicle is running as efficiently as possible. Having a complete service history will also help to maintain the value of your vehicle if you go on to sell it in the future.
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